Run & Jump Review
By David Kempler
A Stroke of the Irish
In 2009, Steph Green was nominated for an Oscar for her short entitled, "New Boy". She is back with "Run & Jump", her feature-length debut revolving around an Irish family that has undergone a medical crisis.
Conor Casey (Edward MacLiam), a man in his late 30s, has suffered a stroke that has left him slightly physically disabled. The bulk of the damage has been done to his mental faculties and it has fallen upon his wife Vanetia (Maxine Peake) to hold the family together and try and get her husband to some state of recovery. Dr. Ted Fielding (Will Forte), an American scientist, is in temporary residence with the Caseys. He is conducting research on Conor and the effects of his stroke. Lenny (Brendan Morris) is the teenage son who is dealing with his own personal identity crisis. Noni (Ciara Gallagher) is Lenny's younger sister.
Vanetia is a plow-forward kind of gal. She takes care of her husband, the house, the children, and manages to remain upbeat almost the entire time. There is something lovely about her personality that transcends the situation her family is in. Conor incessantly retreats to his workshop where he churns out wooden carvings and furniture. Nothing else matters to him very much. Conor's other time is spent with Ted's examinations and experiments. Ted tapes their interactions, but no real progress is evident. He also exhibits a fascination with Vanetia, but it is subdued. If he has romantic feelings, they are kept under tight wrap.
The delightful part of "Run & Jump" is that it never tries to hit you in the face with emotion. Everything is skillfully revealed by Green in an unhurried, but never painfully slow manner. By its conclusion there are little breakthroughs and some issues get resolved. "Run & Jump" won't startle you. It won't bowl you over with laughter or make you tense enough to grip your seat. What it will do is waft pleasantly over you leaving you oddly satisfied.